2023-2024 Innovation Scholars Information

Innovation Scholars programming provides liberal arts students from Minnesota’s private colleges and universities the unique opportunity to engage in the business development processes of new medical innovations in real time. Programs broaden interdisciplinary learning opportunities by exploring innovations at the intersection of science, healthcare, and entrepreneurship. Multidisciplinary teams of four undergraduate students led by masters-level graduate student team leaders work in a hybrid format to complete team projects identified by Mayo Clinic, early and mid-sized biomedical companies affiliated with Medical Alley, the Minneapolis Heart Institute, and NASA pilot projects. Teams present their findings in the form of business plans, presentations, or specific deliverables requested by participating companies or Mayo Clinic.

“The true educational value of the program is for the students. Learning to handle ambiguous situations, learning to work with colleagues from different disciplines, and learning how business and science are combined in the real world – these are the unique educational opportunities found only in the Innovation Scholars Program.”

– Dr. Susan Stoddard, Mayo Clinic
Innovation Scholars Team
Innovation Scholars Team Presentation Day at Mayo Clinic March 1, 2024
Pictured are Carleton students Sam Zachs ’25, Amira Aladetan ’24, Mays Neiroukh ’25, and Eden Bergene ’25, MBA student leader Felecia Fick, and Mayo Clinic Dr. Vikash Gupta

Carleton’s 2023-2024 Project

Carleton was assigned a project originating from Mayo Clinic. All participating students, faculty and staff signed Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) to protect the intellectual property of Mayo Clinic. Each undergraduate student on the team received a $1,500 stipend. Teamwork occured between the end of October and beginning of March in a hybrid format with each student investing approximately 150-160 hours into the team project. The experience culminates with a presentation of the team’s research and recommendations in the form of a business plan or other requested deliverables to the inventors and project managers. Teams gain valuable insights and experience in the process of product development and moving innovations to the marketplace.

Team Application Process

Student team qualifications: a strong academic record, excellent written and oral communication skills, the ability to work with a multi-disciplinary team, understanding and respect for confidentiality and willingness to commit time and energy to the project.
Application may be found online. Deadline to apply is 3pm on Monday, Oct 2, 2023.
Discover additional information about Innovation Scholars, or we also encourage you to talk with Carleton’s faculty mentors, Debby Walser-Kuntz (Biology), Matt Rand (Biology) and Ethan Struby (Economics), or campus liaison, Sara Nielsen, about this exciting opportunity.

Summary of Important Dates:

  • September 21, 2023, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m., Willis 203– Information Session where you will learn about the Innovation Scholars Program
  • October 2, 2023, 3 p.m. – Carleton’s application deadline.
  • October 26, 2023, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. – MANDATORY orientation at Mayo Clinic. Students will receive an overview of the program, review roles, responsibilities, best practices, and meet with their team as well as their Mayo Project Manager.
  • Winter Break & Winter Term – Students, their graduate team leader and faculty mentors meet as teams research and explore their project.
  • March 1, 2024 – Present a final recommendation in the form of a business plan to the inventors and project managers at Mayo Clinic.

In 2020, the Mayo Innovation Scholars Program (MISP) and Innovation Partners (IP) became a collaboration between Mayo Clinic, Medical Alley, and selected Minnesota private colleges and universities.  Multidisciplinary teams of four undergraduate students analyze innovations submitted by researchers at Mayo Clinic or from early-stage biomedical companies and make recommendations on next steps. These projects contain real-world challenges associated with development and commercialization of innovations.

History of the Program (formerly known as Mayo Innovation Scholars Program (MISP))

The Mayo Innovation Scholars Program (MISP) was launched in 2006 and is available to students at several private colleges in Minnesota, including Carleton.  In the processes of clinical practice and conducting research, Mayo Clinic scientists develop new products that may be marketable. These products are submitted to the Mayo Clinic Ventures Office for a thorough investigation of its technology and its marketability. Each year, MISP teams were assigned projects for investigation and research with formal presentations at Mayo Clinic in March.

MISP was developed by the Mayo Clinic and John Meslow, a retired Medtronic executive, with support from the Medtronic Foundation and Mayo Clinic. The program has three main objectives:

  1. To assist Mayo’s Office of Intellectual Property in the evaluation of new product submissions by Mayo inventors,
  2. To provide research internship opportunities for undergraduate science and business students, and
  3. To provide leadership development for graduate students.